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Homemade Chicken Nuggets

September 21, 2012

homemade chicken nuggets

It took a very long time before my daughter started eating meat. Then about 4 months ago (around the age of 20 months) she discovered chicken nuggets. They weren’t even real chicken nuggets- they were the vegetarian chicken nuggets made of soy. Her cousin had them on his plate (he’s vegan) and so it prompted her to try them. After that first bite, she wanted more and more and more haha. Since then I have introduced her to Tyson frozen chicken nuggets and she now eats those regularly with a nice side of ketchup. She’s going through a serious ketchup stage- “anything with ketchup, pleasssse.” But those store-bought, processed, frozen nuggets always kind of bothered me. In the way that they simply grossed me out and made me feel like I am a bad parent for feeding them to my child. But they are so convenient and she’s so picky… that it’s hard not too.

Well, I have finally found a solution! Homemade chicken nuggets. Yes, they take some work and are far less convenient than just buying them in a bag from the store, but think about how much healthier they must be! Have you ever taken a good look at the chicken in those Tyson nuggets? It looks kind of spongy… not at all like actual chicken. Making them homemade makes you feel better about knowing exactly what your child is consuming. After I make a full batch, I spread them across a sheet pan, cover that with foil, freeze them, and store them in a zip-lock bag. You can heat them up just like you do the store bought kind. It’s wonderful!

So how exactly do you make your own chicken nuggets? Well, I’ll show you-

homemade chicken nuggets

Start by brining your chicken in a salt water-worcestershire solution.

This helps to ensure your chicken comes out super moist and flavorful.

homemade chicken nuggets

While that sits you prepare your dipping stations. First, with a panko-flour-seasoned mixture.

Be sure to crush your panko. This gives the best texture. It’s easiest to do this in the food processor.

homemade chicken nuggets

Then whip 3 egg whites until foamy.

When the chicken is done brining then you dry it off really well with some paper towels.

A few handfuls at a time, dip the chicken in the egg whites then the flour mixture.

homemade chicken nuggets

I placed the coated chicken along a sheet pan so I wouldn’t have to layer them, but a plate will do just fine.

Let them sit for 10 minutes to absorb the coating and then dredge them again in the flour mixture just before frying.

DONE! Now enjoy your nuggets : )

homemade chicken nuggets

Look how real and non-spongy the chicken is!

homemade chicken nuggets

My daughter really liked them, hehe.

homemade chicken nuggets

4.9 from 8 reviews

Homemade Chicken Nuggets
Author: 
Serves: 6
 
Ingredients
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1½ pounds)
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs, crushed
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • ¾ teaspoon pepper
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 3 large egg whites
  • 4 cups peanut or vegetable oil
Instructions
  1. CUT AND BRINE: Cut each chicken breast diagonally into thirds, then cut each third diagonally into ½-inch-thick pieces. Whisk water, tablespoon salt, and Worcestershire in large bowl until salt dissolves. Add chicken pieces and refrigerate, covered, for 30 minutes.
  2. COAT CHICKEN: Remove chicken from brine, discard brine, and pat chicken dry with paper towels. Combine flour, bread crumbs, onion powder, remaining salt, pepper, garlic powder, and baking soda in shallow dish. Whisk egg whites in second shallow dish until foamy. Coat half of chicken with egg whites and dredge in flour-crumb mixture, pressing gently to adhere. Transfer to plate and repeat with remaining chicken (don’t discard flour-crumb mixture). Let sit 10 minutes.
  3. FRY Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 200 degrees. Heat oil in large Dutch oven over medium-high heat to 350 degrees. Return chicken to flour dish and turn to coat, pressing flour-crumb mixture gently to adhere. Fry half of chicken until deep golden brown, about 3 minutes, turning halfway through cooking. Drain chicken on wire rack set inside rimmed baking sheet and place in oven. Return oil to 350 degrees and repeat with remaining chicken. Serve with dipping sauces (see related recipes.)
  4. TO MAKE AHEAD: Cool fried nuggets, transfer to zipper-lock bag, and freeze for up to 1 month. To serve, adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Place nuggets on rimmed baking sheet and bake, flipping once, until heated through, about 15 minutes.

 

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{ 26 comments… read them below or add one }

Julia September 21, 2012 at 7:40 pm

OH! I love this! I am always looking for recipes to use for my toddler. Perfect-thanks!
Julia

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DocChuck September 22, 2012 at 5:22 pm

Good Job! My wife and I love chicken nuggets, and homemade is ALWAYS better than that processed junk at the store.

Will make a batch tomorrow (Sunday) for the freezer.

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lmachell September 23, 2012 at 3:08 pm

Good luck! I hope that you like them : )

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Judih September 23, 2012 at 4:43 am

Hi Laura – I just found your recipe blog. It is FABULOUS! Great notes, stories, cautions, successes, variations, pictures, and explanations. Everything that is needed is here! I really loved your shop as well where you showed the products you have success with and the characteristics you like about them compared to others. Very, very helpful. Your photographs are great as well. Side note – Your daughter is cute munching away on her chicken nuggets. You said she is 2 now. My grandson is 19 months now and while he doesn’t have nearly as much hair as your little one, he’s quite tall for his age. He’s already eating chicken nuggets, and your daughter’s picture reminded me of my little guy. (He “helps’ me in the kitchen now….how did I ever get along without him??!!) Well, I just wanted to congratulate you on a beautiful blog and thank you for taking the time to post these recipes with your notes and pictures attached. I wish you much success and I look forward to trying out the recipes.

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lmachell September 23, 2012 at 3:09 pm

Aw, that is SO sweet of you! I really appreciate it. It’s always nice to hear when people enjoy the things I put up. Thank’s so much!

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Mandainoh September 30, 2012 at 12:15 am

I asked my little girl what she wanted for dinner tonight and of course like most kids her immediate response was “chicken nuggets” I knew i had none in the house and didnt feel like running out to the store but had some frozen chicken breast tenders. I used your recipe and paired them with some handcut fresh french fries and it was a hit! Not only with her and her little brother but with my husband as well. The breading has a wonderful flavor to it and they are already asking me when i will be making them next and dinner just ended! Thank you so much for such a great kid (and husbdan) friendly recipe!

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lmachell September 30, 2012 at 6:20 am

That’s so great to hear!! My daughter really enjoyed them as well : )

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Laura November 21, 2012 at 12:44 am

Thanks so much for sharing this recipe! My 9 year old son was having a sleep over and this was a huge hit! All the boys loved it.

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Ling December 1, 2012 at 11:15 pm

Thank you so much! I think I love to try your recipe. My son is 28 month old, and he wont eat any meat for me at all. The only one meat he eat is MacDonald’s chicken nuggets. I feel the same that you mention in the post.

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Krista January 11, 2013 at 12:57 am

YummO! Has anybody tried baking them? How were the results?

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lmachell January 11, 2013 at 7:29 am

I tried baking them and it did not work out at all. The coating remained floury and dry.

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Anna January 24, 2013 at 10:28 pm

All my kids enjoyed these, but my teenager came back *five* times to grab some more. These were fabulous and I will definitely make them again and again. Thanks!

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suzy February 5, 2013 at 2:30 am

WOW! Everyone in the fam LOVED. the 4 yr old, 7 yr old, the hub, and me, the non-fried foodie. When I have the time to do it, I will. Again and again

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amber February 10, 2013 at 3:49 am

just found your blog today dear…the kids were pestering me for chicken nuggets for dinner tonight, and I’m a fan of homemade anything, so I decided to use your recipe over the others I found on the web and they were a HIT! my son, foster son, and niece and nephews LOVED them! thanks alot!

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lmachell February 11, 2013 at 11:09 am

I am so happy to hear that!

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Nathan April 21, 2013 at 9:56 am

One word. Succulent.

After trying lots of nugget recipes on the net and always emding up with stringy and tough chicken, this was awesome!

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audrey April 30, 2013 at 11:02 am

My first attempt at making chicken nuggets was a BIG hit with my kids and husband! This was in March of this year. Unfortunately I didnt save the link and have been searching EVERYWHERE for this recipe; I just remember that I had soaked the chicken pieces in a solution of salt and worcestershire sauce (that must be the secret!) so that’s how I eventually found this recipe again! Tomorrow is a Public Holiday where I am and guess whats on the menu???? And by the way, this is the first time I have been so ‘wowed’ by a recipe that I had to leave a comment! Thanks for sharing.

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lmachell May 7, 2013 at 7:58 pm

You’re welcome! And I am really glad that this recipe inspired you to write you first comment haha that’s always nice to hear.

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bef May 28, 2013 at 12:59 pm

My grandson (22 months) is very allergic to eggs…including whites. Could I just dip in milk? Also, I don’t fry anything anymore so I would probably try to bake these, maybe using confection setting to crisp them. Any thoughts?
Grandma

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lmachell May 29, 2013 at 7:48 am

Not using egg whites will definitely change the texture, but it’s possible to do it without. I tried baking them as is and they didn’t come out at all- I assumed this was because of all the flour in the breading. If you knix the flour and just do breading with crumbs, etc than you might be able to bake it with somewhat decent results.

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Carolyn June 20, 2013 at 3:18 am

I found this recipe today and made a baked variation of it for dinner that turned out delicious! I never thought to brine the chicken with Worcestershire. After brining, I dried the chicken well, then coated first in flour, then egg whites, then panko/crushed crouton mix (I didn’t have enough panko bread crumbs). I baked them at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. They were crispy on the outside, tender on the inside. A big hit with my husband and 3 year old. I’m not sure how they would bake without the egg.

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Bunny August 1, 2013 at 3:29 pm

Is there any way of freezing these you think? I’m a working mom and whipping up things like this isn’t so easy on activity nights!

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lmachell August 3, 2013 at 11:59 am

Absolutely! I froze them after cooking and then reheated them in the oven straight from the freezer.

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Ching August 15, 2013 at 7:22 am

They are absolutely delicious! And best of all, they are homemade goodness! Both my kids love them! Thanks for sharing.

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lmachell August 15, 2013 at 7:38 pm

Awesome to hear!

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Tabitha January 9, 2014 at 12:28 am

These were awesome. I did them gluten free with all purpose GF flour and ground up Rice Krispies-type cereal. (The AP flour was Better Batter or Namaste foods mix from Costco…i dumped them both in my gf flour bin) Also I was too lazy to fully dry the chicken before putting in egg whites and the crust stuck great…though I could taste the Worcestshire bc of aforementioned laziness. My 3 kids and hubby scarfed all but 7 of them so i’ll have to do a bunch more to have nuggets to freeze.

Thanks for sharing the recipe.

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